BRUSSEL sprouts are in season at the moment. They aren't everyone's cup of tea but I love them. I think all that over-boiling at Christmas, reducing them to a pungent mess, has put a lot of people off. But there are lots of recipes that produce a really tasty dish that even the most ardent of sprout-haters will enjoy - and not a turkey in sight!
Here two of my favourites.
Brussels In A Blanket
You've heard of Pigs In Blankets but to my mind Brussels In Blankets are just as delicious - and much better for you.
2 litres water
1 tbsp salt
20 trimmed medium sprouts
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
25 thin smoked pancetta slices (or dry-cured smoked streaky bacon), roughly chopped
2 tsp sherry vinegar
1 Put the water and salt in a saucepan until boiling. Drop in the sprouts in and cook for 4 minutes. Drain and plunge into iced water. When they are cool, drain again and place on to kitchen towels to dry off.
2 Heat the rapeseed oil in a frying pan. Toss the pancetta into the hot pan and fry it until it is gently caramelised, all the fat has rendered and the bacon is a deep brown.
3 Remove from the heat. Remove the pancetta leaving the fat and cooking juices in the frying pan.
4 Place the pan back on the heat and add the sprouts. When they start to sizzle, add the sherry vinegar and cook for a further minute. Stir carefully to make sure all the sprouts are covered in the fat and vinegar.
5 Tip the sprouts on to a plate and leave to cool.
6 Wrap the sprouts in the pancetta, secure with a cocktail stick and place on a baking tray. Bake in a preheated oven at 190C/375F/gas mark 5 for 6 minutes until the pancetta begins to crisp around the edges.
Deep-fried Sprouts with Goat’s Cheese and Chilli Flakes
30-35 trimmed sprouts
4 tbsp soft goat’s cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp grain mustard
A dash of milk
2 parsley sprigs
Sprinkling of chilli flakes
1 Score the sprouts both ends, from the top to almost halfway down.
2 Mash the goat’s cheese with the olive oil and mustard. Add milk until you obtain a thick drizzling consistency. Season with salt to taste.
3 Deep-fry the sprouts at about 165-170C/330-340F, until the outside few layers of leaves are going golden brown, but the inside is still green.
4 Drain and tip on to kitchen roll and leave, preferably in a warm place, for a minute or two. Season with fine salt.
5 While the sprouts are resting, wash and chop the parsley, arrange the sprouts on a big plate, drizzle with the goat’s cheese dressing and sprinkle with chilli flakes and the parsley. Serve while warm.
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